April 18, 2014

Tag Archives: Good Will Hunting

Oscars®: The Top 25 (Best Original Screenplay)

Continuing a new weekly series I’m doing…we’re talking the top 25 Oscar winners in just about every single one of the Academy Award categories. Aside from the shorts and something like Best Sound Mixing like I mentioned previously, I’ll be hitting them all over the coming weeks and months, including of course the big eight categories.
Today I’ll even knock off the first of those big ones, the ever interesting Best Original Screenplay category. Depending on the category in question, I may wind up discussing the individual winners I’m citing specifically or just giving more of a broad overview of the winners, but for now, I’ll still keeping it simple early on. Like I said last week though, in all honesty, you all mostly just want to see the list anyway, so I have no problem obliging you there in that particular regard. All you have to do is just be patient over the next few paragraphs…
Best Original Screenplay is personally one of my favorite Oscar categories, due to the absolute creativity that you can see on display here. Voters sometimes even go out of their comfort zone in honoring scripts written for projects that they’d never touch in the Best Picture category (though that’s begun to change a bit). I think you’ll be able to see a pattern emerging among my winners, as some of their more out there choices have been my favorites. Maybe that says more about me than it does about members of the Academy, but hey, we should all be thankful that some of these screenplays were able to win those Oscars, as they’ve inspired countless other writers in the years since.
This week, for this screenplay category, what I’m going to do is give you the list right now, with a few words about each of the top 25 victors that I’ve chosen. The big eight categories cater to this style nicely, so that’s likely how it’ll go for all of those. Here we go:
25. American Beauty (Alan Ball) – The film hasn’t aged well, but the script itself remains scathingly funny to me. A satire of middle class life and mid life crises, Alan Ball hit on something here, at least at the time. He hasn’t been able to get back to that level since then with his work, but man did he deserve the Oscar for this one, no question about that.
24. Pillow [...]

Ben Affleck talks “Argo,” Kevin Smith fans, and more Lehane stories – OSCARS

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: Some of us are still getting used to talking about Ben Affleck, The Director.
Most of us grew up watching Ben Affleck, The Marquee Star. Ever since the fresh-faced Bostonian shocked the world (or, at the very least, the film industry) by winning an Oscar for his first screenplay of “Good Will Hunting,” Affleck has been an integral part of the Hollywood scene. Mostly, he was carrying popcorn blockbusters such as Daredevil or Armageddon. He earned indie cred collaborating with Kevin Smith on Chasing Amy, then fell victim to a string of poor acting choices that resulted in “Gigli,” “Paycheck” and “Surviving Christmas.”
In 2007, Affleck reinvented himself. He cast a fantastic ensemble for his adaptation of Dennis Lehane’s moody detective thriller “Gone Baby Gone.” Critics and audiences raved. Affleck followed that with “The Town,” an equally tough-talking Boston gang drama. It was as good, if not better, then his debut film.
The streak continues as Affleck directs “Argo,” a true-life hostage thriller centered on an unusual plan to abstract U.S. embassy workers from a hostile situation in Iran. Once again, Affleck assembles a top-notch ensemble that includes himself, John Goodman, Alan Arkin, Victor Garber, Tate Donovan and the great Bryan Cranston (who we spoke with here).
If you need any more indication as to the power of Affleck’s cast, “Argo” is receiving this year’s “Hollywood Ensemble Acting Award” at the Hollywood Film Awards.
Affleck recently sat down with us to discuss his short but impressive directing career, the elements that drew him to “Argo,” and the possibility of him returning to Lehane’s franchise.
I was in the balcony of the Roy Thompson Hall for the film’s premiere. You were introduced, and a guy sitting near me shouts, “Affleck, you da bomb in Phantoms, yo!” And I thought, “Even here.”
[Laughs] Kevin Smith fans are everywhere.
But at least they are following you, right?
Yes, that’s right! You know, that line, which I actually I gave it to Jason Mewes and he then said … I always know the guy in the room who is the Kevin Smith fan.
Tell me something you learned on their previous films that really came in handy on “Argo,” where you thought, “Thank goodness I’ve seen that already.”
I think, on some level, the basic thing I learned on the previous two films is just that everything is going to be OK. We’re going to [...]

Ben Affleck reveals Jennifer Garner does most of the parenting

HollywoodNews.com: It sounds like Ben Affleck is very lucky to have Jennifer Garner as his wife as he is revealing that she definitely does the majority of the parenting while he is often distracted by work.
Affleck spoke with ‘Details’ about how hard it has been for him to balance work and family, states RadarOnline. “I am not very present in the rest of my life. My wife’s very patient. She does everything,” Affleck commented.
“If I have time, I try to spend time with the kids, even if just to be a physical presence, the bath, whatever. But my mind’s always going, ‘How are we going to light that shot tomorrow?’” Affleck added about his dedication to work.
However, he did add that he chooses his projects more carefully now because it has to be worth giving up time with his family.
What do you think about him as a dad?
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Ben Affleck’s thrilling “Argo” a major step for maturing filmmaker – TORONTO

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: I can’t remember a more complete career renaissance than the one Ben Affleck’s currently enjoying.
Not that long ago, the handsome Boston actor – a one-time Oscar winner for co-screenwriting “Good Will Hunting” – was in Hollywood “prison,” condemned for poor choices ranging from “Gigli” to “Jersey Girl” and the aptly titled “Paycheck.” But Affleck took a temporary vacation, reset his career from behind the lens, and established himself as a formidable director with the one-two punch of “Gone Baby Gone” and “The Town.”
“Argo,” his latest, takes this storytelling career to the next level.
Affleck has crafted an airtight heist movie, only the loot being boosted isn’t cash, diamonds or jewels. It’s six human lives.
“Argo” also sees the director responding to the criticism that he’s only capable of making riveting “Southie” thrillers. With “Argo,” Affleck goes global, yet never sacrifices his tensions by expanding his canvas. The film is based on a previously classified story of a daring hostage extraction during the extended Iran hostage situation of 1979. Tony Mendez (Affleck) has a plan that requires Hollywood and D.C. to collaborate on the creation of a bogus sci-fi movie, of which the detained hostages will pretend to be part of the crew.
Thanks to a subtle, internal time clock, Affleck must keep his pieces constantly moving through “Argo,” and it’s in this instance that we realize what a confident director he has become. There’s barely an ounce of fat on this rapidly-dancing thriller, which is alternately funny, risky and consistently terrifying. Once again, Affleck proves he has a fantastic eye or casting. Supporting roles scattered throughout “Argo” are occupied by pros, from Alan Arkin and John Goodman as the movie-business moguls who help stitch the fictional “Argo” together, to Bryan Cranston as Affleck’s man in the C.I.A., trying to pull enough strings to get these hostages to safety.
After building awards buzz at Telluride, Warner Bros. programmed “Argo” into TIFF, where it played like gangbusters to a packed Roy Thomson Hall for a well-received Gala screening. The film opens in October, and should enjoy a favorable run through the Oscar marathon as the industry embraces the entertainment angle to this so-strange-it’s-true story that is masterfully crafted by one of our most talented actor-directors.
Read more of our exclusive Toronto coverage:
Rian Johnson’s “Looper” reviewed
“Amour” amazes, “Rust & Bone” ultimately delivers
TIFF: The Day Before the Madness
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Ben Affleck on Casey Affleck: ‘We all root for one another’

HollywoodNews.com: Ben Affleck and his burgeoning star brother Casey Affleck aren’t in competition with one another.
Speaking to the Daily Record, Ben Affleck says, “I don’t even know what we would compete over. I’ve seen a bunch of versions of his movies and he’s seen mine and we help each other. I mean, if you are working against your brother, you are really in trouble.
“My brother did give me grey hair directing him in ‘Gone Baby Gone,’ which does make me feel a little bit more old. That makes me want to shave his head.
“I can honestly tell you that with me, Matt (Damon) and Casey, we are all rooting for one another. We are all looking for one another to succeed. It’s hard enough as it is.”
Casey recently made his directorial debut with the mockumentary “I’m Still Here” about Joaquin Phoenix’s hijinks while brother Ben churned out his second directorial feature “The Town” which took the top spot at the box office with close to $24 million.
The Boston-raised brothers starred in four films together: “200 Cigarettes,” “Good Will Hunting,” “Gone Baby Gone” and “Chasing Amy.”
Photo Credit: WB
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This Week In Movies – ‘The Town,’ ‘Jack Goes Boating,’ ‘Easy A,’ ‘Devil’

By Pete Hammond
HollywoodNews.com: Ben Affleck has had a career of ups and downs but to his credit he hasn’t let critical brickbats or tabloid fodder derail him from living up to the promising talent he showed as an actor and writer in 1997’s Good Will Hunting which won Ben and buddy, Matt Damon a Best Original Screenplay Oscar. Since then Ben has mixed success in big Hollywood projects like Armageddon (1998) , Pearl Harbor ( 2001) and The Sum Of All Fears (2002) with genuinely interesting acting turns in meatier material like the highly underrated Changing Lanes (2002) and Hollywoodland (2006). Unfortunately there was also his “Bennifer” phase when he and then -fiancée Jennifer Lopez were the talk of the tabs and their joint co-starring venture, Gigli (2003) crashed and burned. By that point most pundits had written off the early promise of Good Will Hunting and dismissed him until his feature directorial debut, Gone Baby Gone (2007) showed that initial talent was just hitting it’s stride. This weekend’s critical acclaim and number one box office ranking for his latest writing/directing/acting achievement, The Town has quieted the doubters and clearly set Ben off on a new career path that buddy Matt Damon says will turn him into “the new Clint Eastwood”, meaning a triple threat talent that is one to watch. The common denominator between Good Will, Gone Baby Gone and The Town is the general location, Ben’s hometown of Boston. When I talked to him a couple of weeks ago he mentioned it was a concern that he get pidgeonholed as the “Boston” guy but that this material was just too tempting to pass up. With its estimated $23.8 million haul, The Town proved that decision to be the right one, beating pre-release predictions, drawing a solid B+ Cinemascore rating and an absolutely stellar 94% fresh score on the Rotten Tomatoes critics meter. What’s particularly heartening about all of this is that The Town falls into that endangered species known as ADULT DRAMA. It’s a time-honored genre that the big studios were thought to be abandoning. Warner Bros. is to be congratulated for a smart marketing and distribution strategy and Ben Affleck is back on top of the movie world with the first significant release of the more serious Fall season.

Speaking of actors-turned-directors, another Oscar winner Philip [...]

Matt Damon thinks Ben Affleck is the next Clint Eastwood

HollywoodNews.com: Sure, best buds and Oscar winning scribes Ben Affleck and Matt Damon may have been pitted against one another as box office stars at one point, but the latter thespian thinks his former “Good Will Hunting” buddy is going to explode as a director.
So much so, that Damon went so far to praise Affleck’s “The Town” as a work of art that director Clint Eastwood typically pulls off.
Damon recently finished making “The Hereafter” with Eastwood.
“This one (‘The Town’) is really, I think, the one where people are just going to remember who he is and let all of the other stuff go,” Damon said. “He’s just a monumentally talented guy. In a lot of ways, I always think of Clint, because Clint was doing orangutan movies, and people weren’t taking him as seriously.
“And look at the second half of his [Eastwood's] career. He’s an icon. And I really feel like that’s the kind of career Ben’s going to have.”
Responding to Damon’s comments, Affleck replied at the Toronto International Film Festival: “Who needs a publicist when you’ve got a friend like Matt? I’ve got to pay this guy.”
“The Town” bows Friday.
Digital Spy scored the news.
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Photo Credit: Universal
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There is no Miramax without the Weinsteins

By Roger Friedman
HollywoodNews.com: Reports are frantic that the bidding for Miramax is almost over. A group of investors, which doesn’t include Harvey and Bob Weinstein, seems eager to get the once great company. Now Colony Capital, the group that is also co owner of Michael Jackson’s Neverland, is said to be in the mix. The total price Disney wants: $675 million.
But Colony’s very astute Thomas Barrack should understand something essential: there is no Miramax without the Weinsteins. The name is too closely identified with the brothers who named the film company after their parents. In the five years since the Weinsteins left Miramax and started The Weinstein Company, Miramax has lost almost all of its name value.
What are Colony and friends buying really? A library of 50 really great movies including Best Picture winners: Shakespeare in Love, Chicago and The English Patient. There’s also The Cider House Rules, Good Will Hunting, Finding Neverland, Fahrenheit 911, Il Postino, Chocolat, In the Bedroom, Gangs of New York, Frida, Cold Mountain, Emma, City of God, Cinema Paradiso, sex lies and videotape, Bridget Jones’ Diary, The Talented Mr. Ripley, and and the Tarantino movies Pulp Fiction, Jackie Brown, Kill Bill Vols. 1 and 2.
That’s it, really. There are lesser films in the library, and there may be a may to milk some dough out of them with TV sales. But otherwise Miramax is just a name. And it’s a name that means little without the Weinsteins. For quite a while now former Mirmaxers have scratched their heads wondering how Disney came up with their $700 million pricetag. The fact is, the public is smart. They know the Weinsteins are at their own company. Miramax is quickly turning into a name like Orion–one with no history attached to it.
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Bridges, Bullock, Damon, Mulligan to present Oscar show

Current Oscar nominees Jeff Bridges, Sandra Bullock, Matt Damon, Anna Kendrick, Carey Mulligan and Quentin Tarantino will present on the 82nd Academy Awards, telecast producers Bill Mechanic and Adam Shankman announced today.
Bridges received his fifth Oscar nomination for his lead performance in “Crazy Heart.” He previously earned a nomination for his leading role in “Starman” (1984) and nominations for his supporting performances in “The Last Picture Show” (1971), “Thunderbolt and Lightfoot” (1974) and “The Contender” (2000).
Bullock, Mulligan and Kendrick are first-time nominees, Bullock and Mulligan for their leading performances in “The Blind Side” and “An Education,” respectively, and Kendrick for her supporting role in “Up in the Air.” All three films are also nominated for Best Picture.
Damon’s nomination for supporting actor for “Invictus” marks his third. In 1997 he won an Oscar for Writing (Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen) “Good Will Hunting.” Damon was also nominated for his lead performance for that film.
Tarantino’s nominations for writing and directing “Inglourious Basterds” are his third and fourth. In 1994 he was nominated for writing and directing “Pulp Fiction” and took home the Oscar for Original Screenplay. “Inglourious Basterds” is also a contender for Best Picture.
Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2009 will be presented on Sunday, March 7, 2010, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center®, and televised live by the ABC Television Network beginning at 5 p.m. PT/ 8 p.m. ET. The Oscar presentation also will be televised live in more than 200 countries worldwide.